How do you make bread at home? Basically, you need very few ingredients – just water and flour are enough, in addition to yeast – but in reality, baking is a complex and very wide world: to obtain good results it can help to use some accessories that will soon prove indispensable, such as the bread leavening basket. Here’s what it is and how to use it.
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Bread Leavening Basket, What It Is And What It Is Used For
Used in many bakeries and professional laboratories, bread leavening baskets simply perform the task from which they take their name: that is, they are containers that serve to improve the leavening of the dough prepared to make bread, and to be precise to maintain the desired shape and allow the vertical development of the bread without letting the dough come out of the edges so that in the end the loaf is taller and molded.
Moreover, according to the explanations of the experts, the use of the basket also allows us to achieve two other important objectives for the goodness of our work: the bread prepared in this way has a better structure and a crispier crust because this accessory partially absorbs moisture and retains heat, thus helping to maintain the shape of the bread during leavening and to ensure a more “beautiful” final appearance.
How Leavening Baskets Are Made
Round, square, oblong, small or large: on the market, there are baskets of many shapes and sizes, perfect to meet every type of production need. If, for example, we want to make abaguette-typebread we will choose the appropriate model, which guarantees to maintain the shape of the dough during leavening and to avoid unpleasant spills or collapses of the dough.
Usually, the leavening basket is made with vegetable fibers obtained from different tropical plants, starting with rattan and wicker, two materials characterized by porosity, a fundamental element because they allow the dough to breathe and rise more gently. Sometimes, moreover, these containers are covered with a convenient linen cloth with which to cover the dough while it rests, without fear of it being damaged.
How To Choose A Proofer Basket
Before choosing a basket we must make our appropriate assessments, thinking first of all about the type of use we have in mind. The first thing to understand is what kind of bread we want to produce because, as mentioned, each basket is designed for a different shape: so, we can find more useful the container in the shapes baguette, ring, loaf, bread in a box, or even round or square. No less important is to evaluate the most suitable size, to avoid having an accessory too small or too large for the actual share of dough that we are going to make.
Whatever the choice, however, a basket for leavening in natural cane must be of good quality, able to ensure good growth of the dough, and, finally, able to allow a quick overturning of the bread, without sticking the dough on the bottom.
How Bread Leavening Baskets Work
As we know, baking is a slow process and must be meticulously treated at every stage: whether it is with sourdough or beer, it always starts from hydrolysis, or the moment in which the flours come into contact with water, which hydrates the starches that will feed on the bacteria present in the yeast, thus causing the production of carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol that makes the dough “expand”, giving it elasticity and structure – the well-known gluten mesh – and, ultimately, well-alveolate bread inside.
After completing the various processes and folds of the dough, it is advisable to put it to rest in a breathable and collected container, which embraces it and ensures the maintenance of the desired final shape. This is why the rattan basket becomes useful, designed precisely to allow the bread to “convert” correctly into its final shape and develop upwards.
To simplify operations – especially the “decanting” – some baskets are lined with linen; In any case, to prevent the dough from sticking inside, we can flour the walls of the container with semolina or rice flour, and remember at the first use to brush the basket with a liquid mixture of water and cornstarch which, drying out, forms a sort of shiny protective layer.
How To Use The Bread Leavening Basket
And so, to summarize, how do you use the bread-leavening basket?
The first step is to put the dough in the basket, placing it in a “comfortable” way: the leavening will increase its volume, so we must not exaggerate with the proportions and fill the whole container”.
Use the lid of the basket or cover it with a linen cloth or polyethylene bag: this will serve to maintain moisture and avoid not only dehydration of the surface but also the formation of a surface film.
Wait for the bread to rise regularly, respecting its times: an hour at room temperature or even a night in the fridge may be enough.
The most delicate phase: you have to turn the basket upside down to gently slide the bread onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, to finally put it in the hot oven for cooking.